Lionel Messi possesses a “special quality” that makes him the best player in the world above Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, according to Brazil head coach Tite.
The Barcelona star scored on his return from a groin injury in the 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna, before he netted a hat-trick in the 4-0 Champions League victory over Manchester City at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Brazil meet Argentina on November 11 in what could prove to be a pivotal World Cup qualifier, with Messi set to meet team-mate Neymar in an international encounter for the first time since a 1-1 draw in a friendly in Beijing in 2014.
While Tite believes Neymar has established himself as one of the three finest footballers in the world, along with Messi and Ronaldo, he considers Messi to be a cut above the rest.
“They are the top three,” he said. “This is nothing new, they’re the top three that have been chosen for the Ballon d’Or before.
“They are different generations – Messi and Ronaldo are more or less the same in terms of their timeline, being 29 and 31 years old. Neymar is a player who is on the rise, who is evolving.
“But today, Messi, for me, is the best. He has this special quality that brings something new to the game, and for us it’s a challenge to be able to go up against him for all the virtues and qualities that he has.”
Brazil sit top of South America’s qualifying table for Russia 2018 with 21 points from 10 matches, five ahead of Argentina in fifth.